Researchers at the Laser Zentrum Hannover are developing the world’s first 2μm femtosecond laser source with pulse energies in the μJ range.
With a 2µm femtosecond laser that has high pulse energies, Laser Zentrum Hannover’s laser development department researchers expect to enable new applications, including micro-material processing, medical technology and nanotechnology. A compact, regenerative, ultrashort pulse amplifier, emitting in the wavelength range around 2 µm, with pulse energies up to 50 µJ and pulse durations below 500fs is the goal. For its seed laser, the scientists will use an fs oscillator based on thulium doted fibres, with an output energy of 1-2nJ, which is then amplified to 25nJ. Directly following the regenerative amplification, a non-linear frequency conversion in the wavelength range of 3 to 6µm is induced in an optical parametric generator or amplifier.
‘Our goal is a 2 µm fs laser system emitting in the mid-infrared range,’ explains Dr Dieter Wandt, head of the Ultrafast Photonics Group, which is working on this laser. ‘These wavelengths have a great growth potential.’
Wandt says that polymer processing is one such field of application. Using IR radiation, polymers can be cut or welded without using additives. For German laser manufacturers, this basic know-how is expected to provide an advantage in the international competition surrounding ultrashort laser pulses.